February 18, 2013

Blackberry White Chocolate Pavlova

I am done with winter.   Totally over it.  I am dreaming of leaving the house without having to put on a coat and a scarf and a hat and mittens.  I am dreaming of patios and tank tops and sandals.  I am dreaming of juicy summer fruit and airy whipped cream.


This pavlova starts with a melt-in-your-mouth meringue base.

The base is then topped with whipped cream that’s been folded together with white chocolate (because we could) and piled high with dark purple blackberries.

More white chocolate is shaved on top to increase the fanciness factor.  

The sweet white chocolate is perfect with the tartness of the blackberries.  The meringue is crispy on the outside and barely there fluffy on the inside.  A mouthful of sweet summer dreams. 

Blackberry White Chocolate Pavlova

3 large egg whites (~90g)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) superfine or castor sugar **
1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz white chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
Blackberries (~ 1/2 pint)
More white chocolate for shaving

Preheat oven to 275F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer whip egg whites on high speed until frothy.  Add cream of tartar and continue beating to soft peaks.  Add pinch of salt, then sugar a little bit at a time until it is all incorporated.  Continue whipping for about 7 minutes, or until you can’t feel any sugar granules when you rub a little bit of the meringue between your fingers.  Add vanilla and whip until just incorporated.  You should have a stiff, glossy, thick meringue.  Dump the meringue onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and smooth into a 5-6 inch circle with a slight dent in the middle.  Keep in mind that the meringue may spread a little in the oven.   If desired, the circle can be traced onto the parchment first and used as a guide for shaping.   Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the meringue is hard on the outside when gently pressed but still soft on the inside and just slightly off-white.

Take out of the oven and cool completely on a rack.  This will leave the meringue quite soft on the inside.  The meringue with likely crack upon cooling, revealing the pillowy-soft insides.  Once cool, the meringue base can be stored in a dry, airtight container for about two days; however once the whipped cream hits it, it is better to consume as soon as possible. 

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate and allow to cool.  Whip the cream to soft peaks.  Combine a couple spoons of whipped cream with the melted chocolate and quickly fold to lighten the chocolate up a bit.  Add this mixture back in to the whipped cream and this time fold gently until uniform. 

Spread this white chocolate whipped cream on top of the meringue base and cover with blackberries.  Shave some more white chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler.  Make 4 large or 6 smaller pieces. 

**You can make your own superfine or castor sugar by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 1 minute. 

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